Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Eschew Obfuscation

I'm not sure what to make about the May Day protests and ensuing discussion. The pro-immigration crowd wants to further "immigrant's rights", which is such a loaded and ill-defined phrase that I think it needs to be banished from future discussion. What, exactly, does "immigrant's rights" mean? I suspect that, if you took a random survey of all the people who were marching yesterday and asked them what it meant (or what they were marching for) you'd get a number of different answers. Are they concerned about immigrants in general? Are they worried about the abuse of resident aliens? Or are they thinking about the unvoiced "illegal" in front of "immigrants"? I'm pretty sure its the latter. So the first problem is one of language; if you're worried about the treatment of illegal immigrants you need to come out and says "illegal immigrants". I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show this morning and one of the guests said that (I'm paraphrasing here) it wasn't right to refer to illegal immigrants as "illegal immigrants" because they come to this country and contribute value to the economy and contributing value isn't illegal. Yes, but they're still here in violation of US law; I think that this kind of rhetorical sleight of hand causes problems in the long run because it clouds the issue. Once you've recognized that immigrants are good people, but that they are here illegally, you can ask the question "Why are they illegal?". Which quickly gets to the heart of the matter, which is the generally fucked up immigration policy that the US has been pursuing. I'm convinced that the long term fix is not to push for better treatment of illegals, but to fix immigration policy so that people can come here legally. This would necessarily have to be done in conjunction with some kind of amnesty, but that's a smaller issue in comparison to fixing immigration policy.

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